■ Are there cross-matter lessons to be learned or that inform other work?
Of course, some of these issues would be identified during the life of the matter, as part of quality
management. But a more formal evaluation at the end ensures that the questions will be answered
and information gathered across the board.
It is particularly helpful if the information will be preserved for easy access in the future to help
drive effective decisions on future matters. These records should include performance and pricing
data to select the right law firm on the right terms when matters like this arise in the future.
In addition, while there should be great emphasis on law firm evaluation, there is also a role for
evaluating the legal department’s success in handling, planning, collaborating, performing and
improving. The following is a list of additional items to consider when evaluating performance at
the end of a matter.
Additional Items to Consider:
■ Consider conducting a formal after-action review. (See ACC’s “Value Practice:
FMC Technologies: After Action Reviews.)”
■ Evaluate both law firms and vendors—perhaps carving out time for annual
meetings to discuss performance and improvements. Identifying areas for
improvement and giving firms the chance to show how they grow in these areas can
go a long way toward better management and better results.
■ Consider what the clients think (company business people and business units).
■ How did any fixed-fee arrangement work out? What changes or improvements
would you make for next time? Was outside counsel any less responsive because of
the fixed fee?
■ What per-unit data points might be helpful for next time?
■ How well did inside counsel manage performance and partner with outside counsel
to increase value delivered? Increasingly, legal departments are assessing this
formally as part of inside counsel’s annual performance review and bonus criteria.
■ What suggestions do outside counsel have for improvements in the future?
■ Consider adjusting invoices based on the client’s reasonable perception of value
received (see Valorem example below).
The following resources provide further insight into evaluating the performance of both in-house
and outside counsel.